Rural Residents on Flood Potential - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Rural Residents on Flood Potential

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New projections have rural residents watching cautiously.

There's a 27 percent chance of the Mouse River reaching flood stage in Sawyer.

However, a second source of flooding is causing a greater concern after a great deal of late season snow.

Jennifer Thorgramson spoke with ranchers who are all too familiar with flood aftermath.

The annual spring melt is getting pushed back with by thick snow cover and below average temperatures.

The later in the year, the greater the concern for overland flooding.

(Keith Hartleib, Sawyer Rancher) "I'm concerned because of the snowfall and there's a lot of it."

(Rex Weltikol, Sawyer City Council Member) "It could be a problem if we get a couple of 70 degree days. It's going to be a fast run off and the ground is not thawed out yet so the water is just going to flow."

In 2011, the Hartleib ranch had springtime flooding before the Mouse River rose... the combination was a disaster.

(Keith Hartleib, Sawyer Rancher) "It was calving time when the water had come so I had to move over 100 head of cattle across the road. Where we're standing it was probably about 6-7 feet of water."

For the most part, the CITY of Sawyer was saved --- thanks to quick action.

The bridge was disconnected from the road on the north side, allowing the water to flow quickly.

(Rex Weltikol, Sawyer City Council Member) "In '11, they had to cut that road otherwise Sawyer would have been under water."

When the bridge was repaired, the Mouse River now has an elbow reinforced with steel pilings.

The repairs proved themselves in 2012.

But Weltikol is nervous what those 'repairs' would mean in future flood years.

(Rex Weltikol, Sawyer City Council Member) "If we were to have another 2011, I don't think they could pull those pilings out fast enough or cut them off fast enough to make a cut into the road. It's a guessing game and you don't fool mother nature. Hopefully we don't have to worry about it. But there's an awful lot of snow."

In Sawyer, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.

Since 2009, sandbags have been required to deflect spring flooding near Sawyer School.

Weltikol says they're preparing to place those sandbags again this year.

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